Our Journey to Normalcy is Achieved through Individual Commitment

Community members share their experiences and hopes for the future


Sarah Villa, Staff Writer

January 13, 2020, marks the ten-month anniversary of the U.S. entering a state of confinement. Months of quarantine later, our masks are still on, and our spirits are still low. But now comes the time we have been anxiously awaiting: the vaccine is in our midst.
We have dreams of life after COVID–the things we will do, the places we will see, the people with whom we will reunite–all without a mask. However, we mustn’t get ahead of ourselves, for the vaccine only serves as a starting point for the uphill battle the United States will face in fighting the spread of the vaccine. For many individuals, normalcy would be a dream come true. But for others, the return to normalcy isn’t as bright and shiny. Locally, Elisabeth Green, Loretta Villa, and Sue Madan had a great deal to say regarding the future of the American people with the vaccine.
SHS junior Elisabeth Green works with her mother to operate a home daycare. With the daycare being their main priority and workplace, Green and her mother were filled with uncertainty when COVID came into play. But thanks to the dedication of Green and her mother and the obedience and patience of the children who attend the daycare, things are maintaining a sense of steadiness.
Developmentally, children are incredibly vulnerable to the social effects that COVID has caused. But, according to Green, the children at the daycare have adapted incredibly well for their age: they always follow safety protocols, and they haven’t shown any developmental concerns caused by the pandemic. Green explained, “The kids are so good. They don’t complain, and they are listening well. They know how serious COVID is, and tend to call out other kids when they aren’t social distancing or aren’t wearing their mask correctly.”
While most people understand what life was like before the virus, younger children may not fully understand what is going on unless they are educated about it at home. On this note, Green said, “The kids tend to ask a lot of questions, like ‘why do we wear our masks’ and ‘why can’t we visit our grandparents?’” The children at the daycare have not presented any serious concerns related to their development or their emotional behavior, and their lives should return to normalcy. It might raise more questions, but children’s innocence allows them to easily adapt to situations like these.
While children might not be fully aware of what the vaccine signifies, older people feel a plethora of emotions. Loretta Villa, 82 years old and a resident of Norwell, has been awaiting the vaccine since the day COVID became a global threat. With the holidays, Villa stated that “all she wants for Christmas is for the Coronavirus to go.” Villa was particularly upset when she was unable to spend Thanksgiving with the rest of her family, especially with her favorite days of her life being those spent with her family. In terms of the vaccine, Villa “will get injected as soon as possible.” Saying she wants “to be able to hug her family again without a second thought,” Villa wears a mask, avoids going out in public, and constantly sanitizes her home, car, and belongings.
For most elderly people, this is the case across the board. They’ve had to isolate themselves from family and friends, filled with fear for the past nine months because their lives are at a greater risk than most. Villa cannot wait for the day she is able to receive the vaccine so that she feels more at peace with the world and reduce her fear of going out into the public.
While people like Green and Villa have positive things to say about life after the vaccine, not everyone shares the same hopeful reality. Sue Madan, a nurse for over twenty years, is battling a different mindset because of her career. Madan is a nurse at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston and has been on the front lines since the beginning of the pandemic. Before COVID, Madan “was not afraid of bringing her job home.” To protect herself and her family, she now leaves all her work clothes in the car and sanitizes constantly. Socially distancing since March, Madan said she is putting herself “in a little bubble.”
Along with the personal changes she has made to her lifestyle, Mada said the hospital where she works has also made significant changes: “Of course masks are required, and visitors are only allowed with an end-of-life patient. Surgeries have been canceled and departments have been shut down.”
Imagining life after the vaccine, Madan has seen the full effect of COVID and says she “will not be comfortable in crowds for a very long time.” One of her main aspirations post-COVID is to eat at a restaurant with no uncertainty or fear in her mind.
COVID will have a prominent impact on life–both in the present-day and in the future. International recovery from such an unexpected and chaotic period of history will be a long haul. Our hopes are up, and our spirits are high with the vaccine, but the fight isn’t over. The U.S.’s journey of restoration to health and well-being can only be achieved through every individual’s commitment, no matter who they are.